HC Deb 19 March 1974 vol 870 c832
6. Mr. Redmond

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the accuracy of the statistics published by his Department; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Foot

This is such a broad Question that I feel it hardly permits a simple answer, but if the hon. Gentleman will indicate to me which statistics he has in mind I shall try to provide an answer.

Mr. Redmond

Will the right hon. Gentleman realise that I am talking about the whole lot? How does he reconcile figures of something over half a million unemployed with a shortage of labour in practically every travel-to-work area? It those figures are wrong, as they obviously are, what reliance can we place on the figures for average earnings and average hours of work? What do those for average earnings include'? Do they, for instance, include the earnings of Mr. Davis of Rank?

Mr. Foot

I shall be very happy to discuss Mr. Davis's situation at some future occasion or on any early occasion that might be offered. What the hon. Gentleman has indicated confirms what I said: that if he wishes to have an answer which deals specifically with unemployment figures or some other figures I think he should put that down, and I think we might have a more fruitful exchange along those lines.

Mr. Michael Latham

Will the right hon. Gentleman have a particular look at the statistics of unemployment in the building industry, which are not known for their relationship with the realities on building sites?

Mr. Foot

Once again, if the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question to that effect we will look into it to see whether they are accurate. It would be very foolish for me to say that I do not agree with the statistics generally when no particular case has yet been given to me.